Astrophysics news supernova first light: amateur observes exploding massive star


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 14 March 2018

 

Astrophysics News
Supernova First Light

Rare Sight of Fierce First Light

Amateur astronomer captures rare first light of massive exploding star,
W. M. Keck Observatory, Feburary 21, 2018.

 

"Thanks to lucky snapshots taken by an amateur astronomer in Argentina, scientists have obtained their first view of the initial burst of light from the explosion of a massive star."

"To date, no one has been able to capture the "first optical light" from a normal supernova..."

"Professional astronomers have long been searching for such an event."

"On Sept. 20, 2016, Buso of Rosario, Argentina, was testing a new camera on his 16-inch telescope by taking a series of short-exposure photographs of the spiral galaxy NGC 613, which is about 80 million light years from Earth and located within the southern constellation Sculptor."

"Luckily, he examined these images immediately and noticed a faint point of light quickly brightening near the end of a spiral arm that was not visible in his first set of images."

"Professional astronomers have long been searching for such an event."

"It's like winning the cosmic lottery."

"Observations of stars in the first moments they begin exploding provide information that cannot be directly obtained in any other way."

"Observations of stars in the first moments they begin exploding provide information that cannot be directly obtained in any other way."

"...an international group of astronomers...frequent observations of SN 2016gkg over the next two months, revealing more about the type of star that exploded and the nature of the explosion."

"...obtained a series of seven spectra."

"...the explosion was a Type IIb supernova: the explosion of a massive star that had previously lost most of its hydrogen envelope..."

"...initial mass of the star was about 20 times the mass of our sun, though it lost most of its mass, probably to a companion star, and slimmed down to about five solar masses prior to exploding."

 

 

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